Biden publishes watered-down gas stove efficiency rule

gas stoves

The Biden administration has published a rule aimed at requiring some gas and electric stoves to be more efficient — but, following immense political blowback, the requirements for gas stoves are significantly weaker than what it initially proposed. 

The Energy Department said in a press release that 97 percent of gas stoves and 77 percent of electric stoves on the market already meet the requirements it is proposing.

This is down from the 50 percent of gas stoves on the market it estimated would be impacted by the rule last year.

The actual efficiency requirement for the gas stoves is also weakened, now allowing stoves that use 1.77 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy per year, up from only allowing 1.204 million BTUs in its initial proposal.

The rule only applies to new stoves being sold and would not force households whose stoves do not meet the standards to get rid of their existing appliances. 

The final rule’s requirements for smooth electric cooktops remain unchanged from the initial proposal, though in the final rule, the department also jettisoned a proposed standard that would have impacted electric stoves with coils.

Gas stoves exploded as a political issue last year after a regulator with the independent Consumer Product Safety Commission suggested that the panel would consider a ban on them due to health concerns related to pollution emitted by the appliances.

After his comments, and rebuke from Republicans and centrist Democrats, the head of the commission and the White House stated that they do not wish to ban gas stoves. 

The rule finalized Monday is part of a larger suite of energy efficiency rules being pursued by the Energy Department under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

“President Biden is committed to using all the tools at the Administration’s disposal to lower costs for American families and deliver healthier communities — including energy efficiency measures like the one announced today,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a written statement.

Despite the weaker requirements, Monday’s proposal won some praise from efficiency advocates as part of a larger set of rules.

“What’s important here is that the Biden administration is updating standards for everyday products and these updates will result in meaningful pocketbook savings for families…with the gas stoves being a very small piece of that,” said Andrew deLaski executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

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